Local car dealer known as 'The Finnisher' battling bond in court


Riku Melartin is behind bars on sexual assault charges, and on Wednesday, his attorneys cried foul about how and where their client is being held.

The courtroom saga for the man known as 'The Finnisher' is just getting started. Once fashioned as a quick draw with a sharp tongue, Melartin has gone from the big screen to the big house.

Melartin and a co-worker, George Katani, are accused of sexually assaulting two teenage girls last year. At least one of those incidents allegedly happened at John Keating Chevrolet in Crosby, where they worked.

"She was working as a receptionist at the dealership," said Brad Beers, the victim's civil attorney.

Melartin maintains his innocence, but since his arrest Friday, his attorney, Jim Butler, says he's been jailed and in isolation in the mental ward.

"Apparently there was a snafu in the request," Butler said.

While attorneys hammer out that hiccup, they're also battling Melartin's bond.

"Do I believe he's a flight risk? Do we believe he's a flight risk? Yes, and that's why we'll ask the judge keep him at a no bond," prosecutor Justin Keiter said.

"Mr. Melartin is not accused of committing any crime while being out on bond. Therefore, under the constitution, he is entitled to bond," Butler said.

Butler says Melartin bonded out of jail six months ago, in January, after his first arrest. And since then, he's had a squeaky clean record.

"We think that track record speaks for itself," Butler said.

With new charges against him, Melartin now faces posting at least seven bonds with the potential of totaling over a million dollars.

The prosecution and the defense couldn't reach an agreement on a bond amount for mister Melartin, so they'll be back in court Friday morning for a bond hearing. His lawyers are hoping to get him out of jail. For the time being, the state is firm on keeping him behind bars.

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